IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Melissa Harris-Perry, Transcript 11/29/15

Guests: Bill Murphy; Susa del Percio; Zephyr Teachout, Khalil Muhammad,Joshua Guild, Allyson Hobbs, Julian Vasquez-Heilig, Payton Head, DereckaPurnell, Toni Tipton-Martin

MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY, MSNBC HOST: This morning, my question, will there be justice for Freddie Gray? Plus, what we are learning about the suspect in the Colorado Springs shooting. And race on college campuses. But first, Senator Ted Cruz tries to convince voters that he is the adult in the room. Good morning. I`m Melissa Harris-Perry. And the Iowa caucuses are now just 64 days away. It will be the first major electoral event of the nominating process for the next president of the United States kicking us into high election season. Yes, looks like pre-season is wrapping up and now it is time for voters to get to actually know their choices. And as much as it`s been a bit of a hard election season on the Republican side to really get to know the candidates because, well, there`s just a lot of them. And also, this has mostly been a campaign of distraction, shall we say, a campaign driven by unlikely outsider candidates whose very appeal seems to be their lack of experience or policy depth. We watch and wonder as they say ridiculous, often offensive things, and that leaves us little time for the rest of the field. The GOP inability to remove the distractions has been the ongoing political surprise story line of the year because the Republican Party is usually pretty disciplined, pretty orderly in its succession. A party that views itself to its quote "next in line," allowing candidate to build a strong campaign and win, good on paper governors like Jeb Bush with his family legacy, or New Jersey governor Chris Christie, former head of the Republican governors association and candidate party leaders yearned to see run back in 2012. Even Wisconsin governor Scott Walker with his blue- collar populist appeal before dropping out of the race in September. But none of these logical, reasonable choices has managed to break through the crowded chaotic class of 16 field. Instead the leading contenders are a former neurosurgeon and a reality TV star. That is until now. Because now the spotlight shines on Ted Cruz. Remember him? The junior senator from Texas, the former police sore general who argued in front of the Supreme Court, Princeton and Harvard law educated, son of a Cuban immigrant. Senator Cruz may have gained most of his national notoriety by rhyming. Last September he staged a 21-hour quasi filibuster using part of his time to read this to his two young daughters who were supposedly tuned in to c- span at that time? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) SEN. TED CRUZ (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Do you like green eggs and ham? I do not like them, Sam, I am. I do not like green eggs and ham. Would you like them here or there? I would not like them here or there. I would not like them anywhere. I do not like green eggs and ham. I do not like them, Sam I am. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: Outside his antics, he is known as a conservative firebrand buoyed by the tea party support. Now, here is a snapshot of where he stands. Same-sex marriage, he wants to deny it. Obamacare, he wants to repeal it. Planned Parenthood, he wants to defund it. IRS, he wants to demolish. And now, he is having moment. This week the tea party favorite emerged from the crowded GOP field feeling less like an unknown and more like a serious contender. As Dr. Ben Carson fades Ted Cruz is currently climbing in the polls in especially in Iowa. New polling from Quinnipiac University puts Cruz near the top of the field in the state with 23 percentage points inside the margin of error on Donald Trump`s 25 percent. And while according to the evangelical vote, Cruz has picked up the endorsement of representative Steve King, the outspoken Iowa Republican and conservative and has raised a lot of money trailing only Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton. Yes, we are still little more than two months away from the first votes cast, but silly season is over. It is go time and the field is starting to take shape. And Texas senator Ted Cruz repudiated by his colleagues in the Senate for his antics, the man who brags not about leading a government but about shutting government down, who until last year held dual citizenship in Canada. That Ted Cruz is looking more and more like a real contender. With the poll numbers, the money and the organization to go the distance. Joining me, Dorian Warren, an MSNBC contributor and a host of "Nerding Out" on MSNBC Shift. Susan del Percio, Republican strategist, Raul Reyes, attorney and co-host of "Changing America on MSNBC Shift. And Zephyr Teachout Fordham law professor and former Democratic candidate for the governor of New York. Susan, can an outsider like a Carson or Trump actually win in a place like Iowa where you have to have or we at least used to think that you had to have actual strategy and machine? SUSAN DEL PERCIO, REPUBLICAN STRATEGIST: There is a difference between what Trump`s doing, what Carson`s doing and what Ted Cruz is doing. Trump is speaking at as many people as possible. He is not (INAUDIBLE). He is not meeting them one-on-one. He is not listening to what they have to say, but he is speaking to them. So he has these huge rallies and gets all this coverage and that`s working for him so far. Then you have Ben Carson who is trying to do a little bit more, has the money for an organization but really hasn`t gone into it and now we`re seeing that because of his lack of credentials, it is really starting to hurt him. Ted Cruz, on the other hand, is going to every county, 99 counties. He is doing another town hall tomorrow even though he has this big bump in the polls. He is not taking anything for granted. Nationwide he has 100,000 volunteers. This is building up a machine. And the biggest difference I would say between Ted Cruz and Donald Trump right now is Donald Trump doesn`t know what it takes to run a campaign, you know, face to face. He doesn`t have -- he doesn`t get what people want from him. Because he`s never been a candidate. Ted Cruz gets it. He knows what it is to be in a primary. He knows what it is to be in a run-off. He knows that he go press the flesh especially in a state like Iowa. HARRIS-PERRY: Right. And that idea especially in a place like Iowa, right. I mean, the caucuses are basically these folks are professional voters in their certain right. And they are used to a particular kind of candidacy even if they claim they want an outsider to the process. RAUL REYES, ATTORNEY: They expect it in places like Iowa and New Hampshire. It is hard for us I say in say like New York to even imagine this. But they are used to meeting candidates one-on-one in their town hall -- HARRIS-PERRY: Multiple times! REYES: Multiple times. They expect that. But the thing is at that point Donald Trump has just rewritten all the rules. And you know, all the talk that we`ve heard all summer that at a certain point a serious candidate was going to emerge or grown-up was going to emerge, it may or may not happen. And now, even if we look at Ted Cruz, someone is emerging but he is not that quote-unquote "grown-up" that people expected it to be. You know, people thought it would be maybe Jeb Bush at some point or perhaps Marco Rubio. And now it is Ted Cruz and it is just so bizarre! HARRIS-PERRY: You think Ted Cruz is not the grown-up? REYES: I don`t know. HARRIS-PERRY: Let`s listen again to Ted Cruz`s statement. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CRUZ: I do not like green eggs and ham, I do not like them, Sam I am. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: I`m so shocked that you don`t see him as the grown-up in the room. ZEPHYR TEACHOUT (D), FORMER CANDIDATE FOR GOVERNOR OF NEW YORK: One of the things that`s happening here especially post citizens united is you see the parties basically playing less of a role and outside money playing more of a role. And Ted Cruz in some ways is more the thing that we feared with enormous amounts of hedge fund money, pro fracking money, coming in. Actually a lot of Silicon Valley libertarian money. Google, Facebook Pac, both supported Ted Cruz earlier and Peter Thielm, a serious in policy terms but serious cash, Silicon Valley libertarian have all backed Cruz. And he has not a lot, a lot of not traditional Republican support. But I would say quasi anarchistic libertarian -- DEL PERCIO: But if money was the only issue, or -- (CROSSTALK) DEL PERCIO: Then you would have seen Scott Walker doing better. Jeb Bush wouldn`t be (INAUDIBLE). And that is a lot of the money that you are talking about and that is where it went. And they are now doing as well. The candidates need to find a way of connecting with the voters especially in early voting states. HARRIS-PERRY: Well, it also interesting. You know, when you Zephyr, you know, say he is in some ways more of what we feared and yet I have learned to fear new things. Right? I mean, so it is one thing to deeply disagree with a party or with a candidate and yet feel like they are perfectly capable of governing, right. And I guess I`m not sure with Cruz. Like, you know, I look at someone like a Marco Rubio or Jeb Bush, again, deep ideological disagreements but I don`t fear that they could make executive decisions from the oval office. With Ted Cruz, given the kind of glee in shutting down the government, I guess I`m not quite sure if I should fear it in the way I do a real out like Trump or Carson or if I should see him as just a version of a, you know, a candidate who I disagree with but who I think is quite confident. DORIAN WARREN, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: I`m not sure we should fear him yet. Because this isn`t very surprising, the rise of Ted Cruz. I think he was the first candidate to jump in the primary race back in March. And political scientists who are analyzing has police preferences showed of the first four primary states he was most in line with Republican primary voters. So this isn`t a shock that he has come up in the polls. HARRIS-PERRY: Dorian, he was most in line with Republican primary voters? WARREN: In March. Absolutely. HARRIS-PERRY: I would like to hear again Mr. Cruz`s statement? (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CRUZ: I do not like green eggs and ham, I do not like them, Sam I am. (END VIDEO CLIP) WARREN: But here`s the thing about -- he owes his rise to Donald Trump because as a political scientist (INAUDIBLE) says, you don`t have to win the nomination to win the conversation. Trump changed the conversation around immigration. And most of the -- the vast majority of the primary voters that are most active, their intensity of preference is around immigration, the support goes to Trump. HARRIS-PERRY: So they would vote for a Canadian? No, no. Look. He just is a Canadian. It just -- like there isn`t any question that man was born in Canada and that is fine with me. But I will just say that there was a sort of hounding of our current president for years about whether or not he was born -- REYES: President Obama wasn`t born here either and Republican voters decided to debunk that. DEL PERCIO: But putting that aside, there is one other thing. Your concerns when you say there are candidates you couldn`t agree with but see hem leading? Guess who you share that same view with? The Republican establishment. HARRIS-PERRY: Right, exactly. DEL PERCIO: You want to be scared of something new, you and the Republican establishment. HARRIS-PERRY: We actually agree on all kinds of things, me and the Republican establishment. Up next, the evangelical angle. We really do. You`d be shocked at the things we agree on. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CRUZ: The promise of America seems more and more distant. What is the promise of America? The idea that the revolutionary idea that this country was founded upon which is that our rights, they don`t come from man. They come from God almighty. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: That was Senator Ted Cruz in March just moments before officially announcing his 2016 presidential bid. The address was at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, the largest Christian university in the world. And Zephyr, he really has done a good job on -- in that particular space, right. I mean, more than 200 faith leaders having endorsed him for president. Just announcing that his formation of a national prayer team. And so there is going to be sort of national leaders who will be doing these, you know. So I mean, this is real strategy in the context of a Republican primary. TEACHOUT: Yes. Again, I want to return to this sort of strange marriage between the sort of libertarian quasi anarchistic donors, and then the sort of deep faith leaders that you see in Cruz. I find a lot of what he`s talking about very disturbing, including his response to the refugee moment recently was to say we should not allow in Syrians who are -- Syrian refugees who are Muslim, but allow in Syrian refugees who are Christians. There is really -- it is not just a faith but a pretty deep religious bigotry that he`s expressing. HARRIS-PERRY: In fact, during that announcement, we just also take a listen to what he said about that point about kind of radical Islam as a cursive statement. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CRUZ: Imagine a president who says we will stand up and defeat radical Islamic terrorism. And we will call it by its name. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: I mean, I find that troubling as well, right. Defeating terrorism, sure. But I mean I think we just saw - I mean, literally just saw in the Colorado shooting that acts of terror are not about one religious identity. REYES: But that goes back to the Trump effect. If it weren`t this bizarre primary field this year, Trump has pulled things so far to the right that now Ted Cruz to a lot of people looks the quote-unquote "moderate" candidate. You know, as you pointed out in the intro, he is known for obstructionism, shutting down the government, absolutely inflammatory rhetoric. But by comparison to the people in the field, he is now presenting himself as the electable candidate, as a reasonable alternative candidate, a role that many people thought should have gone to Bush. But this is where we are right now. For all the talk about riding the party and the primary voters coming to their senses. This is where they are. Maybe me they have righted themselves. This is what they want. HARRIS-PERRY: So does the GOP essentially really want Cruz? Marco Rubio was the last person we were talking about. DEL PERCIO: And I don`t think you`re going to see Ted Cruz go all the way. And the question is also, if he`s peaking this early, don`t forget the Iowa primary is a month later than it normally is. So it is very early for him to peak this high in this norm because he will be torn down. When you are in the spotlight, people will -- you are a target. And does he want to be a target of Donald Trump? It will be very interesting to see how their relationship which has been a bit of a bromance will now evolve. Now, he did go after Trump about the Muslim registry. He said that was inappropriate. But this is a man who will go all the way to an extreme. He called President Obama -- now I disagree with that, but he called him the largest supporter of state sponsored terrorism. That`s absurd! That shouldn`t fly. REYES: He says he doesn`t want to defend the country. DEL PERCIO: That is unacceptable. Now, you can have a different point of view but not that extreme. And that`s what he is known for. That`s what people are afraid of because you can`t rely on him to do something responsible. HARRIS-PERRY: So, it is interesting. This question of sort of something responsible, the "New Hampshire union leader" endorsed Chris Christie and did it with discourse about national security, saying, OK, now that, you know, the Paris attacks have happened, now that we`re in this moment we need a real grown-up, someone who will do something responsible and that is Chris Christie. Does that create a space for kind of the grown-ups in the room to show up? WARREN: I think so because they also in that endorsement attack those candidates from the private sector. So Donald Trump and Carly Fiorina. Because they don`t have the experience as a Christie as governor, right. HARRIS-PERRY: They also attack all the senators by also attacking the president. So they said we don`t need a young senator because that`s what we have now and it is a terrible thing. WARREN: It is an interesting priming because what they have done in that endorsement of Chris Christie is put international terrorism or foreign terrorism, not domestic terrorism, the point you just made in terms of Planned Parenthood and the attack on Planned Parenthood. But they have lifted terrorism as an issue that is much more salient and try to make the argument for their endorsement for Christie. One of the thing that is interesting about Cruz and I think this is a structural change in the Republican Party over the last several decades, in 1980 there was only one debate before the primary and for the caucus in Iowa. Now there is six. Ted Cruz is an excellent debater as we know. And so this gives him a chance to make himself know -- HARRIS-PERRY: Is he an excellent debater, Dorian Warren? I would like to hear once again Mr. Cruz speaking. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) CRUZ: I do in the like green eggs and ham, I do not like them, Sam I am. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: Dorian Warren (INAUDIBLE). Up next, a democrat won in the south and not just in the south -- in Louisiana in a state wide race. Really, it happened. We are talking about him when we come back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: One of the biggest political surprises of the year happened just last week when Louisiana elected a democrat as its next governor. John Bel Edwards will be the first democratic governor in all of the Deep South since former Louisiana governor Kathleen Blanco left office in 2008. Political insiders had expected Republican senator David Vitter to cruise to an easy victory, so much so the Democrats who were more prominent that Edwards decided against running because their chances appeared to be so slim. But Edwards, a formerly obscure state legislator who surprised everyone by winning the open primary last month with 40 percent of the vote and then he soundly beat Vitter in the run off by 12 points. How in a world did he do it? Here with us to help explain is John Rowley, the media strategist for John Bel Edwards successful gubernatorial campaign. So John, how did you all do it? JOHN ROWLEY, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: It`s interesting. We worked for an independent expenditure, not directly for his campaign. Two of the keys were the candidate got a very early start. He started running two and three years out which I think is a model for other candidates in very competitive, if not red areas. And also there were a number of independent expenditure groups that came together early and helped him early in that primary around the runoff that were key. And also, you know, you had David Vitter as an opponent. I mean, he had big problems going into the race, then a huge scandal broke by an investigative blogger that blew things up. And then another thing that I think is also a model for Democrats and competitive various is we had - there was a candidate with a great profile, military veteran, army ranger, West Point, and also he was pro-life, pro-gun which should mitigated some of the late attacks that Vitter and his super PACs tried to volley at him. HARRIS-PERRY: All right. So I want to - just for folks who weren`t following this race. And I know this isn`t actually an ad that your group did, but this really was the kind of extraordinary ad that points out I think kind the candidate nature as opposed to the ideological nature of this race. So let`s just take a look at what I think is one of the best ads of the year. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The choice for governor couldn`t be more clear. John Bel Edwards who answered our country`s call and served as a ranger in the 82nd airborne division. Or David Vitter who answered a prostitute`s call minutes after he skipped a vote monitoring 28 soldiers who gave their lives in defense of our freedom. . David Vitter chose prostitutes over patriots. Now the choice is yours. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: Man, I mean, I hardly -- like I can hardly even believe that even it happened in the world. So let me ask you this, John. So given that you can make -- that someone can make an ad prostitutes over patriots in this case, is this actually a story that can be bigger? Is this something about how Democrats can run in the south? Or is this really just like if you`re running against a guy who answered a prostitute`s call instead of, you know, taking a vote -- ROWLEY: Well, Democrats didn`t beat him in 2010 when a lot of this information was out there. So there are certainly things to replicate the profile of the candidate, forming of third parties to match all the Republican third parties being very aggressive against Vitter. And I think that ad needed a disclaimer of, you know, strong words to follow probably before it aired. And then, you know, the other thing is, the organization we are involved with, Louisiana families first, is also very focused on motivating African- American voters and the field program and black turnout was higher in the jungle primary and in the runoff as they call it in Louisiana. HARRIS-PERRY: Hold on. Zephyr, I want to let you in on the money piece. Yes, go ahead. TEACHOUT: OK, great. I`m thrilled that Edwards won, but this is not a good development for Democrats in the deep -- small D Democratic sense or big D democratic sense because outside money funders are going to be hedge funders. They are not going to be in general be focused on core democratic populist issues. And it sort speaks to the rise of personal politics instead of politics that is actually about roads, bridges, schools and the basics in our society. So I don`t think there is any celebration in the use of outside groups even I`m thrilled with that. HARRIS-PERRY: Hold on. John, because it just occurred to me as somebody who`s lived in New Orleans, that when you say jungle primary, I hear something different than what the rest of the world might have just heard when you said it. Can you please explain that for a second? ROWLEY: Well, I mean, this race proved like Louisiana has proved a lot of times. It is one of the more fascinating places to watch politics. In Louisiana, like California`s primary, Democrats and Republicans are on the ballot together in the first race and in the second race. So there is not a conventional Democratic primary. So you could have gone in and voted for the D or the R. And so there were three strong Republican candidates and John Bel Edwards. And in terms of what was said about the independent expenditures, in this case anyway that wasn`t really the case in terms of a lot of the people that were supporting some of these efforts. And I think I guess as progressives and on the Democratic side, we have got a choice to make, do we want to unilaterally disarm or do we want to be competitive in terms of spending. I mean, Vitter he a super PAC still incredibly outspent the Democratic side of things but they were able to prevail. DEL PERCIO: And so with strategists -- a win is a win so I hand it over. That was a well done race from Edwards` side. However, it is very interesting to see in 2015 that race happening when you see nationally where the progressive movement on the democratic side is moving. Don`t forget, I wonder how governor-elect Edwards is going to do being -- he doubled down on being pro-life. He doubled down on being pro-gun. He moved very much away from President Obama. HARRIS-PERRY: No, see, I think he didn`t. DEL PERCIO: I think he is quoted saying I am not like national Democrats. That`s what -- HARRIS-PERRY: Right. He did say I`m not like national Democrats but unlike so many of the southern Dems who in the mid-terms ran hard against the president, they actually in this case recognize that black voters -- I mean when you look at - John, am I wrong that African-American turnout in this off-year election was one of the highest that we have seen in an off- year election? ROWLEY: That`s four or five points up. DEL PERCIO: That`s great political strategy. I will give you that. That is great strategy. That`s good outreach. There were some great ads done in that race. But it wasn`t necessarily saying just because you do outreach in those communities, it doesn`t mean you`re saying I am with the president`s agenda. It doesn`t mean that you are with the president. It means you are doing a very smart retail campaign. (CROSSTALK) REYES: Twenty percent approval rating, even majority of Republicans don`t like him. That`s sort of flipping the script because in the past Republicans liked to tie candidates to President Obama. This time they did it with such a massively unpopular governor. HARRIS-PERRY: Right. And you know, I guess the main thing I just want to take away from this, John Rowley in (INAUDIBLE). Thank you for joining us. But is the point I`ve heard you make a million times. You`ve got to run to win and Democrats have to actually challenge in the south instead of just continuing to just give over all of those races. So thank you to Susa del Percio and Zephyr Teachout. Dorian and Raul are sticking around a little bit longer. Still to come this morning, the first trial for the officers charged in the death of Freddie Gray is about to begin. And up next, we want to get you the latest on the suspected gunman in the shooting in the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: New details are emerging about what happened in the moments following a deadly shooting of Colorado Planned Parenthood office. Three people were killed Friday morning and police say 57-year-old Robert Dear shot a police officer and two civilians whose names have not been released. Dear was taken into custody after a five-hour standoff. Two law enforcement sources with knowledge of the case tell NBC News when Dear was taken into custody, his rantings included the words quote "no more baby parts." Those sources say Dear said many things to law enforcement, including references to President Obama and politics and that a motive has not been determined. Dear is expected to appear in court tomorrow. Joining me now from Colorado Springs, NBC News correspondent Leanne Gregg. Leanne, what else do we know at this point about Dear`s background? LEANNE GREGG, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Melissa, the picture emerging is of a man who`s reclusive, who sought solitude in the Carolinas. Most recently he lived in a very small town 65 miles west Of Colorado Springs in a travel trailer with a woman with no electricity. Neighbors said he is a mystery that he kept to himself, even in a small town. Very few people actually say they know him. His criminal past shows that he has several arrests, everything including domestic violence against his then-wife. That was back in the `90s. Also a peeping tom arrest in connection with looking at a neighbor. Law enforcement described his statements following his arrests on Friday as rantings. In addition to that comment about "no more body parts," he also talked about President Obama, they said, and many other subjects and went on and on. And while police do continue to stress that it is too early to name a motive, Planned Parenthood officials say that they believe he targeted the facility because he opposes abortion. They say that because witnesses comments that he made while he was in the facility. Meanwhile across the city today, all across the congregations and churches, people are offering prayers on this first Sunday after the attack for the victims and for everyone involved in the violence on Friday. That as the gunman remains in jail without bond. Again his first court appearance is scheduled for tomorrow - Melissa. HARRIS-PERRY: NBC`s Leanne Gregg in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Thank you. And up next, will there be justice for Freddie Gray? (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: Tomorrow the trial is set to begin for the first of six officers charged in the April death of Freddie Gray. Gray died from a critical neck injury that he sustained in police custody after arresting officers placed him handcuffed and shackled but unsecured in to the back of a police van. Officer William G. Porter is accused of failing to seek medical attention for Gray`s injuries and is facing charges of manslaughter, second degree assault, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment. The trial is scheduled to start tomorrow with jury selection. And a Baltimore judge said he expects 75 to 80 jurors to appear for the first round of selection process. Prosecutors and defense attorneys will face the challenging task of picking 12 jurors to give a fair consideration to the evidence and testimony amid a local and national climate of heightened attention to cases involving police use of force. With me now, Dorian Warren, MSNBC contributor and host of "Nerding Out" on MSNBC Shift, Seema Iyer, MSNBC contributor and host of the MSNBC Shift legal show "the Docket," and a criminal defense attorney who was formerly a prosecutor in the Bronx district attorney`s office. And Raul Reyes, attorney and a contributor to So talk to me, Seema, what are attorneys going to be looking for as their kind of pick this jury? SEEMA IYER, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: OK. The first thing is they are going to ask the jurors in the jury poll have you been exposed to the riots. That`s really important. And what side they fell on. The other big issue which is always an issue I think when you are trying cases involving police witnesses is their feelings towards law enforcement. And then finally, of course, what do you know about the case and is that going to affect your ability to be fair and impartial. HARRIS-PERRY: There has been a lot of effort on the part of the defense attorneys to move this out Baltimore and this judge keeps saying, no, we`re going to do this here. What are your thoughts about that? REYES: No, the judge is absolutely right. Because moving -- when you take a trial and you move it to another venue, that`s really an extraordinary thing and it is not to be taken lightly especially in this case. It has to do with, for example, you know, the issues of bias, the issues of what constitutes acceptable police behavior in a high-crime neighborhood and when does police behavior possibly cross the line into criminality. These are questions that people who have lived there, they have lived experienced, they might know in a way people in the suburbs cannot. And it also, it needs to be in Baltimore not only because the jury needs to look like Baltimore, but because studies have shown -- even studies done in Baltimore, for example, juries in the city in urban areas reach far different verdicts than jurors in suburban neighbors. So it belongs there. And if the jury pool does not represent Baltimore -- I think Baltimore is about 60, 65 percent black. If -- the jury will not be seen as legitimate. So it needs to stay there. He is absolutely right on that. HARRIS-PERRY: I want to come out a little bit from the actual trial. We will go back to it in a second. But Dorian, it feels like this is not just a trial around Freddie Gray`s case. This is the first time in this kind of big arc of the Black Lives Matter movement when an officer has been held accountable at trial for the death of an unarmed African-American. How important is sort of the process here for a sense that some level of justice is possible? WARREN: It is the miner`s canary in terms of fairness in the criminal justice system when it comes to race. The nation will be watching this trial to really try to understand is the system, is the justice system inevitably corrupt? Or is there any kind of transparency and justice that black folks can actually win? So think about Ferguson and what happened there. Think about Chicago last week in terms of taking -- HARRIS-PERRY: But when you frame it as black folks though, it is worth pointing out that this officer is also African-American, that this -- lots of things about Baltimore are different. Right? But like the speed with which this case -- we don`t have charges in the Tamir Rice case, and yet this one is already at trial. IYER: I think what is funny is as we talk about this in court sometimes. Just because your client is black doesn`t mean -- and the officer`s black or the DA`s black doesn`t mean it is going to help you. It really doesn`t. HARRIS-PERRY: Everybody`s black in this case! IYER: So we can remove that issue. HARRIS-PERRY: But we can`t really. Right? Like -- so on one hand everybody`s black and yet it actually doesn`t then make race not an issue - - IYER: No, no, not at all. But at least in my experience, and I want to hear what Raul has to say, I think the judge sometimes determines the fairness of the proceeding and I am incredibly confident with this judge that we will have a fair trial. WARREN: And this is important, because this judge used to prosecute police misconduct for the justice department previously. HARRIS-PERRY: Sir, this is a real thing, right. This is a former DOJ attorney who got convictions against police officers. (CROSSTALK) REYES: Yes. So he knows what to look for and he knows, you know, what constitutes acceptable conduct. But when you talk about the larger national issues, things like the movements around social justice, Black Lives Matter, the thing that`s so important to keep in mind is just that in these trials, all those things, and I`m going to preface this by saying I think what was done to Freddie Gray was horrific, those things are irrelevant. IYER: Irrelevant? REYES: Irrelevant. IYER: Everything is relevant! REYES: No, because it all is going to turns on the case that the prosecution makes. It is not going to turn on possible consequence. They have a high bar to clear, you know, to proving beyond a reasonable doubt. They have bar to clear -- IYER: Listen, there are going to be jurors who are going to get on that jury because they have something to prove. They are politically motivated, socially motivated -- HARRIS-PERRY: But potentially on both sides. Right? IYER: Absolutely. HARRIS-PERRY: They either want something to prove on the BLM side and also on the office officer`s side. REYES: You want to exclude them because then they are trying to make a point. IYER: They aren`t always forthcoming. That`s the problem. WARREN: None of those jurors walk in with a blank slate. They have been paying attention especially this issue is very salient in Baltimore. So they have been paying interest to the news. They have experiences and feelings about the police regardless of whether the prosecution or the defense can squeeze that out. (CROSSTALK) HARRIS-PERRY: OK. I`m going to try to get you to just hold some of this until after the commercial break. And when we come back, I`m going to bring in the attorney for the family of Freddy Gray. Billy Murphy joins us next. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: Baltimore is among the growing list of American cities where the death of an African-American while in police custody has prompted a demand for police accountability. But Baltimore stands out among those cities because seldom in these high-profile cases have we seen that demand actually answered quite like this. The justice system responded fairly quickly in Baltimore with Baltimore city`s state attorneys Marilyn Mosby announcing charges against all six officers involved with Freddie Gray`s arrest less than three weeks after his death. And this week, almost seven months to the day since those charges were announced, the first of six separate trials between now and March for each of the accused officers. Joining me now from Baltimore is Billy Murphy, attorney for the family of Freddie Gray. Nice to have you, Mr. Murphy. BILL MURPHY, ATTORNEY FOR FREDDIE GRAY`S FAMILY: Nice to be here. How are you? HARRIS-PERRY: Pretty good. So we are talking here about this idea that on the one hand, you know, in the kind of big movement around Black Lives Matter, Baltimore is a space where justice looks as though it may be possible. But I`m interested for the family of Freddie Gray what justice looks like. MURPHY: The family is very unusual. They don`t have a particular result in mind like most people do who are watching. They don`t want a guilty verdict. They don`t want a not guilty verdict. They want whatever is based on the evidence and the law in the fairest sense possible. They want the jury to be open-minded. They want them to listen closely to both sides. And then they want them to follow the law and come up with an evidence law-based verdict, not preconceived notions. Because that`s exactly what the problem is. People come in with biased attitudes in one way or another. And people don`t get justice that way, so they want pure justice. HARRIS-PERRY: So this is a really interesting point. In part because you have six officers, they`re going to be tried in separate trials and apparently some of the information will come out in the first trials will also be used as information in later trials. Talk to me a little bit about that. MURPHY: Well with be in multiple trials where basically you are talking about the same scenario over and over again. Of course, that`s going to happen. People are going to understand better the second trial than they will understand the first trial. Then believe it or not, there are going to be some surprises in the first trial. And they are going to be evidentiary approaches and theories that are sometimes counterintuitive. But in any event, which won`t be expected by people who have been following the case. And that`s because the one thing that`s been missing in this dialogue is a factual discussion. That will happen before the second trial. But this trial is going to be shrouded in mystery until the evidence comes out. And that`s a good thing in many ways. HARRIS-PERRY: Hold for me a second, Mr. Murphy. Seema, I want you let on this. In part, because this idea - I mean, this is very different language than what we have heard. What we want is for the system to actually work. We want to see this thing that we think of as the American system of justice where we presenting the facts to actually play out. What`s your sense about the likelihood of that can actually happen in this case? IYER: I do think it could happen. First of all, the severance is based on the defendants, each of the officers making these different statements. And that things are going to come out in officer porter`s trial that could be used against Officer Gordon and white, for instance. So I think that lends itself to fairness on a purely evidentiary level. That`s number one. Number two, I do think the judge -- Judge Billy, he may have more experience with Judge Barry Williams so he would be able to tell us about him, but I think we are in a position to have a fair judge. And it is so important, Melissa, I think to have a fair judge because that`s where you get your rulings. If I am trying to put in evidence my prior relationship with Freddie Gray and the defense wants it in the prosecution doesn`t, that`s up to the judge to say, wait a minute, this is irrelevant, or it is relevant to the officer`s state of mind when dealing with Freddie Gray. HARRIS-PERRY: So what do you think, Mr. Murphy? Is this a judge who you are confident is likely to make fair decisions in those kinds of cases? MURPHY: Absolutely. I have known him since he was a baby prosecutor years ago. And I followed his career all through its various stages and he`s very thoughtful. He is very, very bright. And he is an extraordinarily fair human being. But he`s no nonsense. And so, you can expect that the trains will run on time and you can expect that he won`t let the lawyers grandstand or do the things that many of us are famous for. And he will make sure that it is a dignified proceeding uninfluenced by outside events. I`m very confident in him. And to the extent that judges set the tone for cases. He is the right tone setter. HARRIS-PERRY: So you know, it is interesting you say, you know, unaffected by things that are happening on the outside, and yet, Raul, this case, and the fact that there are six of them will undoubtedly impact what happens in the -- I mean Baltimore is now going to go through six separate trials. And whatever is happening for the family, this will be undoubtedly emotional for the city. REYES: Right. And there is also two other factors that make this case very unusual. One is that because you have police officers on trial. Think about it. Normally, for example, if you are on the prosecution side, you want people who self-identify as law and order type people. You want people who tend to support the police. You want people who can`t imagine themselves in the shoes of the defendant. This time, that`s what the defense wants. I mean, it sort of flip that way. And this case is also unusual because there is already been a civil settlement with the Freddie Gray family. Usually that comes afterwards. And now, some people say, well, that could possibly bias jurors that they could say, well, it is some type of admission of guilt. But it could also play the other way. Because if they`re on the fence, they could say the family`s already gotten this in the form of justice, so let`s just, you know, go not guilty. So these two factors also play in to this and I think it`s going to be -- as we go through the trials, they will have a role. It is very unusual. HARRIS-PERRY: I have an unfair question to ask with such brief time. But we keep hearing about the Ferguson effect as this chilling effect on the ways in which officers are doing their work on the ground. I wonder if finally seeing a Baltimore set of cases here will impact how police officers are thinking potentially in ways that are good, that are pro justice. WARREN: There`s no Ferguson effect when you look at the data and evidence, number one. Number two, this is a question about public accountability in terms of those charged with enforcing public safety. And I hope every officer in this country is watching this case very closely to understand that not just in Baltimore but potentially in other places they will be held accountable for any misconduct of crimes they commit against civilians. HARRIS-PERRY: Thank you to --- MURPHY: There`s actually more likelihood there will be a Chicago effect given the premise and recently of those events. Very sad story in Chicago. HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. Well, and hopefully what that Chicago effect is with being is if you have a tape, don`t wait a year to release it. Thank you to judge Billy Murphy in Baltimore. And here in New York, thank you to Dorian Warren, Seema Iyer and Raul Reyes. Still to come this morning, if your kid is home but headed back to college later today, you could let them sleep or you could go grab them and wake them up because up next, race on campus. What our young people are facing and how they`re handling it. There is more Nerdland at the top of the hour. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: Welcome back. I`m Melissa Harris-Perry. This weekend demonstrators in Chicago and Seattle took to the streets to protest the killings of unarmed black people by police. They disrupted the typically care-free early shopping days of the holiday season to draw attention to inequities in policing, criminal justice and incarceration. Streets of major American cities are not the only places where protests and calls for racial justice have emerged. For more than a year many American campuses have been sites of student organizing and direct action protests. First we saw social media campaigns addressing macroaggressions. And then in recent weeks campus protests have grown more urgent and widespread. Nowhere more so than at the University of Missouri in Columbia just a short drive from Ferguson, Missouri where the shooting death of Michael Brown and the police action in response to citizen protests galvanized a national Black Live Matter Movement. At Mizzou, students demands culminated on November 9th, the resignation of the president of the university system, Tim Wolfe. After a group of Mizzou student activists called for Wolfe to resign after what they say was his failure on multiple occasions to respond to their ongoing attempts to bring us attention to issues of racial injustice at the school. And on November 2nd, Jonathan Butler, a graduate student and member of the group amplified their call with a hunger strike that he said would continue until Wolfe left office. And then, on November 7th, African-American members of Mizzou`s football team announced they would boycott the season until Wolfe, quote, "resigns or is removed due to his negligence towards marginalized student experiences." Wolfe stepped down two days later. His resignation was just one of several demands that were meet by university administrators. Now, that same day, the UM system, board of curators announced plan for diversity and inclusion training program, new support for the hiring and retention of more diverse faculty and stuff, the additional support for people who`ve experienced discrimination and disparate treatment on campus. The Mizzou protests have been followed by actions at many of nation`s most elite universities. Students at Yale -- California`s -- and Occidental College, Georgetown University, Princeton University. And many others turned out en masse to highlight their experiences of feeling marginalized on their campuses and to call on administrators to meet their own list of demands. This is not the first time that political protests in American cities have been accompanied by movements on college campuses. College students were among the vanguard of the civil rights leadership. Much of the anti- Vietnam war movement was organized on college campuses. In the late 1960s and the 1970s, students initiated movements that led to the emergence of black studies departments. The following decades thousands of students` activists called for the schools to divest from apartheid era South Africa. Just last years, students joined with the Black Lives Matter Movement when they begin to -- to protest a grand jury decision not to charge Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown. Today protests are focused on the experience students say they`re having on their own campuses. In March, students at the Universities of Oklahoma spoke out after a video emerged of showing members of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity participating in a racially offensive chant. And also in March, students at the University of Virginia described policing in their college campus after UVA student Martese Johnson was violently arrested by the ABC agents. Students insist that these incidents are symptomatic of campus cultures that nominally value inclusion but fall short of cultivating that inclusivity in meaningful ways. Some critics even say it is little more than hurt feelings of the coddled millennials. Others as the result of political correctness run amok. For those of us who believe that colleges are laboratories for democracy, there is much to herald and much to critique in current campus organizing because college should be hard. Part of the college experience should be encountering ideas and opinions both inside and outside of the classroom that challenge everything you thought you knew or believed. It`s meeting people you disagree with and who disagree with you. And who might sometimes, ahah, hurt your feelings. But also disrupt your world view, inspire you to think and to think again. In these ways college should be hard. But college should also be safe. Now safety doesn`t stifle debate or disagreement or even attempt to protect you from discomfort. Safety actually allows for debate and disagreement by ensuring that students can explore and engage without enduring the kind of mental, physical or soul-deep assaults that can leave lasting scars. Meaningful diversity helps to cultivate colleges that are both safe and hard but the last decade has seen a trend towards more economically and racially homogenous campuses. In 2009, 75 percent of freshman slots at the country`s most elite colleges and universities were held by white students. In 2013, 84 percent of full-time professors on campuses were white and the vast majority of them white men. In 2003, the Century Foundation found almost three-quarters of students entering tier one colleges and universities come from the wealthiest families but only three percent of students from the poorest families attend those same top schools. College can`t be hard. It can`t push us to think in new ways and encounter new ideas if it doesn`t give us the chance to encounter those who are different from ourselves. And college can`t be safe and create challenging spaces for exploration and experimentation unless it nurtures tangible manifestations of substantive diversity. Joining me now, Khalil Muhammad, director of the Schomburg Center for Research and Black Culture. Professor Joshua Guild who is associate professor of History and African American Studies at Princeton University. Allyson Hobbs, associate professor of American History at Stanford University and a contributing writer to the And Julian Vasquez-Heilig, who is professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at California State Sacramento and the California NAACP education chair. So nice to have you guys here. JOSH GUILD, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY: Good to be here. ALLYSON HOBBS, ASSISTANT PROFESSOR, STANFORD UNIVERSITY: Thank you for having us. HARRIS-PERRY: Like a college professor festival. Josh, I want to start with you. Roxane Gay wrote of the student protests that often though the kind of condescension in how we talked about it. These are just kinds of hurt millennials but actually they`re not just college students. These are college students who have identities. They don`t leave their identities at the door. GUILD: I mean, these are young people to my mind who are politicized in the current moment. As we saw it in the opening. These are young people who are coming out of Black Lives Matter Movement. This is the Trayvon Martin generation. This is the Rekia Boyd generation. This is the Michael Brown generation. So we can`t separate the outside world from the campus world. These things are intimately related. These are also young people who are thinkers. These are intellectuals and they`re mounting an intellectual debate on our campuses and our society. I think that`s what is so profound about this current moment. HARRIS-PERRY: So I love the idea that that is true. But there are moments in what I am seeing Khalil that I`m not certain that it feels like an outgrowth of the Black Lives Matter Movement. And let me just say that for me, one example is the extent to which many of these demands -- not all of them and not at every campus, but on some campuses seem to lack some of the institutional structural claims that they are often claims about recognition. And I don`t, you know, wrote a whole book about recognition. I don`t mean that it is irrelevant but that it doesn`t quite feel to me like the claims happening in communities around structural change. KHALIL GIBRAN MUHAMMAD, DIRECTOR, SCHOMBURG CENTER FOR RESEARCH: Well, I think that it is moving in two directions and I think it is hard to pin down. So, one of the things that anchors all of this for me is thinking about they`ll back you in the dream defenders. HARRIS-PERRY: Uh-hm. MUHAMMAD: This is an organization that is started in the wake of the Zimmerman acquittal. They occupied Rick Scott`s office. It grows to represent college students on nine different campuses. And at this very moment, it is continuing to do that organizing work on those campuses and even extending to secondary school which is to say that we can`t pick one side of it or the other. HARRIS-PERRY: But they occupy Rick Scott`s office in order to make a claim about seeing their ground, about a public policy. MUHAMMAD: Absolutely. But the point is, you can`t -- once the genie is out of the bottle you can`t pan it down and say this is one thing and that`s another, this is legitimate and that`s illegitimate. This is about structure, this is about identity. Which is to say that the consciousness of those students on those Florida campuses has fundamentally peaked and therefore different and they`re going to see things now and going to speak to those challenges in ways that they might not have before. I also think it matters that Occupy Movement precedes even that movement and they claimed some of their -- the dream defenders claimed some of their organizing strategies inspired by the occupy movement which itself opened up a genie of representation and tactics. Our white students treated differently when they are organizing on campus the police show up, do they say come on, guys, let`s go back to the classroom or are they subject to the kind of brutal forms of oppression. So, those kinds of identity politics that played out even in the organizing on campus. HARRIS-PERRY: Sure. I will say that we saw -- we saw on some campuses. I mean, there was the example, the occupied students. Most of the white students were being pepper sprayed, right, so there were these moments that said, so I hear you that you can`t say some are legitimate and others aren`t. But I guess for me there are -- when I think about what a college campus is, the relationship between students and administrators is one part of it but there is -- also universities also contract. They contract with food service workers and with janitorial workers. They have relationships with the communities in which they find themselves. And some of these student movements are very much addressing those and many of them in fact also are not. JULIAN VASQUEZ-HEILIG, PROFESSOR, CALIFORNIA STATE SACRAMENTO: I think that`s a good point which is that our lives are connected. By lifting all boats, I think it is very important that we look across these different movements and we think about how these movements are conjoined. You know, the faculty for example in California are protesting that the fact that they haven`t had wage increases since 2006. But in those very same protests, there were students shoulder to shoulder with the faculty in those protests. HARRIS-PERRY: Uh-hm. VASQUEZ-HEILIG: And so, we have to understand with the food service workers that are on our campuses, that the students, that the professors, they were all in this same boat in terms of -- and we need to support these movements as allies. HARRIS-PERRY: But we`re not all -- okay. But we`re not all in the same boat. I mean, it actually is a different thing to be a marginal food service worker on a college campus who is fired every summer because of the rules of how that university relates to that contract. Than it is to be a student who goes home in this summer. Right? Like, those actually are different experiences that I think require acknowledging in a meaningful movement. VASQUEZ-HEILIG: Well, you know, as faculty, I`m now in an administrative role at California State where the folks run these universities and it is incumbent upon us as faculty to make those decisions to do right by the workers across the university, to do right by the students in terms of diversity and inclusion. Because it is typically faculty that are running these institutions of higher education. So, it is incumbent upon us to make that social justice happened across our allies in these institutions. HARRIS-PERRY: Allyson, I`ll let you way in. HOBBS: Sure. I think that this is -- what`s so kind of fascinating and so important about this moment is that it feels like this is a moment where students are really grappling with what it means to be an active, engaged citizenry. HARRIS-PERRY: Uh-hm. HOBBS: And I think that students and the broader public are really thinking about what does it mean to live in this a democratic society and what does it mean to live in a democratic society in 2015 when demographics are changing, when we`re seeing, you know, tremendous change in our society and I think that the students who are involved in these movements are both concerned about symbolism and about structure. And I think that those two can go together but that we have to be very careful and very sure that in order to really make the kind of thorough going change that the students are calling for, that those structural changes, those curricular changes, those changes in terms of adding more diverse faculty, that those are not getting underestimated. HARRIS-PERRY: Good. So, we`re going to ask a student when we come back whether or not any of that is true. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: Protests by students at the University of Missouri this fall forced the resignation of the university`s Assistant President Tim Wolfe. Protests included teach-ins, rallies and an occupy like camp out in a school quad. One graduate student launched a hunger strike. And then members of the football team vowed not to play until Wolfe stepped down. And so, Wolfe stepped down. And joining us now, live from his hometown of Chicago is Payton Head, president of the University of Missouri`s students association. Nice to see you, Payton. PAYTON HEAD, PRESIDENT, MISSOURI STUDENTS ASSOCIATION: Thanks for having me. HARRIS-PERRY: Okay. So, your Facebook post is part of what`s credited for helping to galvanize this movement at Mizzou. Talk to me a little bit about what it is that you and your fellow student activist saw as necessary for changing. HEAD: Yes. I think for me this was the second incident that I had endured, you know, where I had been called out on my name. I`d been called the "n" word just walking through campus. And at that moment, you know, these aren`t single isolated incidents. So I was over it, that`s why I posed it to Facebook. And it wasn`t just about myself. You know, it is about my friend who identifies as trans and walking down the street and being spit on. You know, my friends who are Muslims, you know, who wear hijabs who are called towel heads and terrorists, you know, as they`re walking through campus. And it is a problem and I think that it is time now that we address this as much as possible. HARRIS-PERRY: So, talk to me about what addressing it looks like. HEAD: Yes. HARRIS-PERRY: What are the things that you want from the university, from the administration, from the faculty to make this a different kind of place for you. HEAD: I think first and foremost our administrator need to be historians of the institution as a whole. Students, we are very temporary. We have four years, five years, you know, if we go on to grad school, maybe six or seven years. But we`re very temporary. But, you know, we study, and then rise to these leadership positions, then it is time for us to graduate once we figure out how to operate the institution. So, I think that it is important now more than ever that our administrators, they learn about the institution as a whole, not just the good part and the good traditions but also some of the things that we`ve done wrong in the past. HARRIS-PERRY: Uh-hm. HEAD: Because that gets into that structural violence that exists on campus and we have to be able to figure out what exactly is put in place for students of different marginalized communities not to be able to be successful on these college campuses. HARRIS-PERRY: I think that`s such an interesting and important point about we think of students as though they are this kind of permanent reality. Right? HEAD: Yes. HARRIS-PERRY: Students are always there. But you`re cycling through typically, right, much more swiftly than administration and faculty. Josh, let me ask you a little bit about that. So, I mean, Julian, you were saying faculty run the place. I think faculty run the place in some ways and sometimes also not in others. So what then is the role for example of faculty governance in engaging student protests? GUILD: I think it varies from campus to campus and it is hard to kind of make a general statement about that. I think faculty have to stand up and speak out when they can, speak back to administration. But the faculty also often wear two hats. So, they`re both administrators and faculty members. And we also have to talk about contingent faculty members who are or not temporary members of the faculty and have less institutional power than say senior tenured members of the faculty. HARRIS-PERRY: Payton, let me come back to you because, you know, I was at Mizzou, I had an opportunity to meet you and so many of the other students briefly. I just want to ask, how the work that you`re all doing on campus is also related to the work in Ferguson and around the country. HEAD: Yes. Many of the different student activists at Mizzou, they were in Ferguson protesting. You know, we have a good number of students that come from the Ferguson area in St. Louis. And a big majority of our students are from the St. Louis Metropolitan area. So it is people who are from this area who feel this pain. And I think one of the things that started the movement on our university`s campus was when our university decided to not acknowledge what was happening just two hours away in Ferguson and the effects that it has on the students who are currently attending the university. HARRIS-PERRY: I remember so many of you saying that to me that you had the sense of, look, I`m at college. It is happening down the road. We have an expectation that our faculty, that our administration will provide a learning context for this moment. HEAD: Yes. HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. I want to say thank you to Payton Head from the Missouri Student Association who is, however, home for the weekend in Chicago. Thank you for joining us and thank you for your continued work. HEAD: Thank you. HARRIS-PERRY: Up next, at Princeton University, students protest over the racial climate. The media has largely been focused on one man. He`s been dead for 90 years. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: Some black students at Princeton University are making their own demand for mandatory cultural sensitivity training for faculty and for dedicated black space on campus and they are also demanding that the university remove President Woodrow Wilson`s name from its buildings. And Wilson was president of Princeton before going on to become president of the United States. He was also a die-hard segregationist who praised the KKK and purged black workers from government jobs. After some student activists organized the walk out and occupied the President, the current president at Princeton`s office, the administration now says, it will consider changing the name of the Woodrow Wilson`s school of public and international affairs. So, Khalil, I mean, as a historian, where are you on the purging of these names? MUHAMMAD: If that wasn`t a loaded question. HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. I know, I`m sorry, you`re at my table. (LAUGHTER) MUHAMMAD: So, first I want to acknowledge that there was real damage done by Woodrow Wilson. HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. MUHAMMAD: That is not in the abstraction. And the "Times" covered both in an op-ed and editorial the significance of that told through the story of John Davis who worked at the government printing office for 30 years. His grandson, Gordon Davis, wrote about it. So, I want to put flesh on those bones because it matters. It also matters what is the institutional speech that we articulate to represent our values. Because I think at the end of the day, each of these campuses, Princeton, Yale, Amherst, are going to have to decide what their values on. And once they decide what their values are based on the democratic process, based on buy-in and socialization from lots of people. Then they have to decide what story are we going to tell about ourselves? Are we going to tell a story that acknowledges Woodrow Wilson in Princeton`s case of the racism that he perpetuated? Are the alumni promotional literature and the development officers going to speak to that, when they try to organize to say that we want to both embrace this president and recognize that we don`t want to perpetuate the values of exclusion and the denigration of other people as part of our future? And I just will say -- (CROSSTALK) I haven`t said that we should or shouldn`t. HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. MUHAMMAD: But I said that that is the debate and that is the choice that people at Princeton or Yale or Amherst have to engage in because in that moment back to your young people, back to Payton Head, that`s where the debate comes in. Because young people have to learn in college. How to make an argument. They have to learn how to defend their ideas. HARRIS-PERRY: That`s right. MUHAMMAD: It`s not just that your ideas drop out out of your mouth into the world and everyone like, oh my God, yes, that`s it. No. You have to come back -- HARRIS-PERRY: That`s right. MUHAMMAD: -- and revise, and continue to make that case. And that`s how you change the values of an institution. HARRIS-PERRY: And so, I`m with you. And yet, I will say Josh, if I go right now to the Center for African-American Studies website at Princeton University -- (CROSSTALK) Excuse me. I`m sorry. You all became departments -- okay, the Department of African-American Studies at Princeton, if I go to their website, the first thing on their website, on the left hand is a really nice seven- minute piece by you talking about Wilson`s legacy of structural racism. And so if Khalil`s point is universities have to address these questions, it does appear -- GUILD: Well, that is all the function of the work that these students have done. These students have kicked open the doors of this debate. I mean, you were at Princeton for, you know, several years. Wilson`s name has on been the international school for public affairs for almost 70 years. And I`ve been at Princeton now for almost a decade myself -- about his history segregation. And this is not as Khalil said, incidental racism, this is not his personal views. These are his active views both as president of Princeton where he discouraged black applicants, and then as president of the United States, his viewing of people with African descent, people of Asian descent as intellectually and inferior. As you say, you know, helping to segregate the federal bureaucracy and so and so forth. These students have made that a debate that`s even possible for us to even have this conversation, that within a period of weeks that the "New York Times" editorial board would print an editorial that said "The Case against Woodrow Wilson." That is about an intellectual argument. It is not about feelings. HARRIS-PERRY: Right. Yes. And yet for me the argument though -- so, it is an intellectual argument. And yet taking the names off for me is deeply troubling. And maybe this is having grown up at the University of Virginia and Mr. Jefferson`s university, right. So, for all of the things that Wilson is, right? Jefferson is someone who holds his own children in bondage, in the context of slavery, real harm done to real humans. And yet we don`t throw out the declaration of independence. We don`t unnamed it in part because you need those names there to tell the whole story. I don`t want to sanitize it. Now, for me the argument is, so what are the untold stories? What are the names that ought to be on buildings that aren`t? VASQUEZ-HEILIG: I think if you read the other side`s conversation about this, they say it is about political correctness but this is really about who should be honored in our public and intellectual discourse. Does Princeton not have enough Americans or other alumni or even donors that deserve this public and intellectual recognition? HARRIS-PERRY: Allyson, you got to an interesting point about the donors though. Because that is a somewhat different question. Right? About the capacity of folks to put their names on buildings that they themselves build. Right? I mean, I think that`s different than what`s going on with Wilson where it is a kind of honoring and honorific. Yes. HOBBS: What I think is dangerous or what I think we have to be really aware of is that the issue behind the symbolic names and the naming of buildings is that there are so many segregationists, there are so many slave owners, that we would really have to do a very thorough going transformation of almost every college campus if we were to remove their names. And perhaps that`s something that we should do and perhaps that`s something that universities will decide this is part of the way we`re going to change, the way we`re going to transform into a university of the 21st Century. But I think it is wonderful that we learned so much more about Woodrow Wilson in the past couple weeks. I think a lot of people thought of him as being an internationalist, being the first person who had envisioned the League of Nations. But I think what I`d rather see on -- I definitely want to see the articles about the black people who were hurt by Woodrow Wilson`s policies and who were removed from the federal bureaucracy because of his policies. But I also want to see the articles about the structural problems at the universities. HARRIS-PERRY: Uh-hm. HOBBS: I want to see the articles about the problems of tenure. I want to see the articles about the decline in black applicants. I want to see the articles about the curricular issues. I want to see the articles about the lower numbers of faculty members at universities and I think the danger of focusing on the symbols is that it gives us the sort of neat and tidy thing that we can do and we can remove the name and then it is like, okay, we`re done. HARRIS-PERRY: One more symbol to talk about. We`ll go to Harvard Law School when we come back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: In 1991, the first tenured black Harvard law school professor took a voluntary unpaid leave of absence to protest the possibility for tenured women professors. His name was Derrick Bell, and he called it a leave of conscience which he vowed to maintain until the law school granted tenure to at least one black woman professor. His recognition helped to galvanize the discussion about the value of diversity and scholarship on a campus where related tensions ran high. 1991 was also the year the Harvard Law review had its first black president, a young man named Barack Obama. (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) PRES. BARACK OBAMA (D), UNITED STATES: One of the persons who spoke at that orientation was Professor Bell. And I remember sauntering up to the front and not giving us a lecture but engaging us in a conversation and speaking the truth and telling us that (INAUDIBLE) to learn at this place that I`ve carried with me ever since. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: Professor Bell never returned to Harvard as his protests ultimately led to his dismissal. He passed away in 2011 at the age of 80 but not before seeing the young man on whom he`s made such an impression as first year orientation elected at president of the United States. A reminder that what is learned from campus protests can sometimes be translated into meaningful leadership. What then might be ahead for the young law student currently demanding a revision of the Harvard Law School seal? The current seal contains a crest of the Isaac Royall family whose wealth founded Harvard Law School and was based in the enslavement and trafficking of Africans in 18th century. The students call themselves "World Must Fall." Joining us now from Boston, Massachusetts is Derecka Purnell, the Harvard Law student who took part in the protests in Ferguson, Missouri. So, nice to have you with us. DERECKA PURNELL, HARVARD LAW STUDENT: Thank you, Melissa for having me. HARRIS-PERRY: So, I`m going to ask you a question that I asked the student leader from Mizzou as well. Make for me a connection between the work that you have done in communities and in community organizing and in the work that you`ve been doing on campus. PURNELL: Absolutely. So what`s interesting is that Harvard law, like is a law school, and whenever there is a police shooting and black or brown bodies are dropping to the ground, the society goes up in confusion as to why prosecutors don`t bring charges against cops. And one reason I think that is, is because we don`t have proper contextualization in legal education. So my peers are not being pushed to think critically about the spaces that they currently occupy. So, all the manifestations of anti- blackness that reside within Harvard also reside within the real world. So we`re not equipping my peers, my colleagues, my professors with the tools, with the language to then graduate and then go on to become prosecutors, they`re going to go on to become Supreme Court justices and, you know, policymakers. The President of the United States. And they`re going to go on to occupy these roles and when they can`t even be pushed to be critical of law school, how can we expect them to be critical of a criminal justice system that fails black and brown bodies every day where pushing back against students who call out the anti-blackness currently in the classroom. I think it is a direct connection. We`re going to be future lawyers. We`re going to be in this society and we can`t continue to silence marginalized students at the university because ultimately we`re going to be representing those type of people as lawyers. HARRIS-PERRY: In the context of the movement you all have been engaged in there was an act -- potentially an act of vandalism. I know that the Harvard Law School investigating right now but of black tape put over the faces of African-American professors from the law school. And Randall Kennedy, a professor of the law school, wrote an op-ed for "The Washington Post" in which he suggested that the work that you and your colleagues are doing is -- the language he used is, it is a related tendency to indulge in self-diminishment by displaying an excessive vulnerability to perceive an actual slights and insults. What`s your response to Professor Kennedy`s op-ed there? PURNELL: Well, you don`t have enough time for my full response. But I can say, I can say the problem is that he`s reducing these events to black tape or he`s reducing these events to a shield. But our fight has never been about that. You know, our fight has never been reducible to a confederate flag, nor a water fountain, nor a street boundary, nor a lunch counter. So I find it almost laughable that we`re reduced these incidents to items, right? And not to a culture that tolerates or breeds anti-blackness. So, to say that -- I agree with your point that college is hard, but I think Randall Kennedy is saying, yes, college is hard to black students but it shouldn`t be hard to white students. It should be hard to all of us. HARRIS-PERRY: That`s right. PURNELL: So when there is a racist act on campus, black students should be heard but my white colleagues and white peers and white professors and Randall Kennedy should also be heard. And I diminish it or reduced it to being vulnerable because of a symbol of a piece of tape. HARRIS-PERRY: I so appreciate your point there that when I -- that`s my whole point about college should be hard. Right? So for me, the language that you just used about pushing intellectually in the classroom, that is such a critical one for thinking about how those questions of justice play out. Khalil, I know you wanted in on this. MUHAMMAD: Well, I do. Because I think that this is a moment where we see again the relationship of the streets to the campus or the community of what we are seeing happening on campus. Both of your guests have described both activism outside the campus and its relationship to inside the campus. One of things that Black Lives Matters activists have pointed out time and time again, this is not just about laws, this is about changing beliefs, this is about changing values, this is about changing attitudes. And I want to give credit to President Drew Faust at Harvard who has written in an upcoming or current New York review books article where she talks about we must insert history into our national discourse and our public policy. It is not one or the other because the values that we uphold and how we express them in our deep constructed crests and symbols and they get extractions of the things and symbols that we put around us, including the confederate flag which stood -- which hung over the confederate -- of the state house of South Carolina, was an act of state speech in support ultimately of a history of violence which could then perpetuate a present and future of violence. And therefore these symbols matter. But they matter both to how we think of ourselves collectively at Harvard at the Law School and the public policies that we are engaged in. And your guests have spoken brilliantly to those connections. HARRIS-PERRY: Stick with us. I want to say thank you to Derecka Purnell in Boston. I promise I`m going to get everybody back in. And also, I`m going to let in President Obama who`s going to weigh in on this question when we come back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) OBAMA: So when I hear, for example, you know, folks on college campuses saying we`re not going to allow somebody to speak on our campus -- because we disagree with their ideas or because we feel threatened by their ideas. You know, I think that`s a recipe for dogmatism and I think you`re not going to be as effective. (END VIDEO CLIP) HARRIS-PERRY: That was President Obama speaking with ABC`s George Stephanopoulos on November 12th about protests at the University of Missouri. Julian, I want to let you in on this. VASQUEZ-HEILIG: You know, at first I think diversity, equity and inclusion in these conversations is not happenstance. It has to be an institutional priority and has to be priority for us in our classrooms, has to be a priority for us in our hiring. That`s one of the first things to say. I also think that our classrooms are our laboratories of our national discussions of today and the future. We are training the future leaders of our country. So, I think it`s a very weighty responsibility that we have as faculty. It`s not just that we`re researchers, not just that we`re teachers but we are training the leaders of our nation. HARRIS-PERRY: And for me, I think this is part of the argument that I heard Dereck Vicking (ph) from HLS, from Harvard Law School is, for me then the value -- the reason I want you to read, the voice isn`t for cultural competency, is because you shouldn`t graduate from college having not encountered "The Voice." But similarly, I also want you to read libertarian writers. This is part of the idea of being able to make these discursive arguments. When you hear the President say, you got to listen to everybody, for me it is less about the speakers on campus and more about the syllabi on campus. VASQUEZ-HEILIG: You know, a reason that they based on evidence, that is the vibrancy of our democracy. HOBBS: Right. HARRIS-PERRY: If and when it happens. HOBBS: And that also really deals with the issue of faculty diversity because we know studies have shown that the more diverse faculty that we have, the more diversity we have in terms of those syllabi, in terms of which writers are represented and importantly in terms of teaching also about the role of women, the role of gay and lesbian men and women, the role of transgender people. I mean, you know, that it is really important that we think about faculty diversity in very broad ways so that we`re offering syllabi and we`re preparing students for a very diverse multi- racial, multi-cultural society. HARRIS-PERRY: So Joshua, how on the one hand do you hold intention like this need to create future leaders who are capable of this kind of broad discourse, without moving to a let`s get sensitivity training for all -- like I heard, you know, sensitivity training for all staff and faculty and I thought -- like that gives me a little bit of angst to hear that argument. GUILD: Well, I think there is a way that students are experiencing all kinds of incidents of marginalization, of alienation in their day to day. Right? I mean, some can separate the classroom also from what`s happening just, you know, in your interactions with the financial aid office or with janitor or whomever. Right? I think there is a way that those folks aren`t always getting the kinds of preparation to deal with diversity and increasingly diverse in many instances, student population. So I think that`s one thing to say. But absolutely we need to use our classrooms as the space to introduce these concepts. I mean, you know, what`s heartening to me about Princeton, in my African-American history lecture course, African-American history, every year I give this lecture on World War I and we talk about Woodrow Wilson and invariably students come away after class, I did not know that about Woodrow Wilson. Right? And then we see those same kids now engaging in this protest. Right? The director -- HARRIS-PERRY: Oh, it was you! And now we know. Thank you to Khalil Muhammad and to Joshua Guild and to Allyson Hobbs and to Julian Heilig. And up next, how much history do you know about African-American cookbooks? Do you know why there are so few? The answer after this. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) HARRIS-PERRY: This Thanksgiving, my husband and I, like many home cooks throughout the country made and served dishes we learned to love and make from the black men and women who raised and nurture and fed us. Now, my specialties include mac and cheese and sweet potato pie and for James it`s the unparalleled Perry Gumbo. In truth, African-Americans have helped forge this country`s culinary tradition. But looking at the American cookbook canon you might not know it. Of the 100,000 recipe collections printed in the country, only 200 are credited to African-American authors. But food writer Toni Tipton Martin is working to change all of that. She spent decades collecting and preserving African-American cookbooks showcasing the position and artistry of the African-American culinary tradition. And now she`s sharing her collection with her new book "The Jemima Code: Two Centuries of African-American Cookbooks." And joining me now is Toni Tipton-Martin. Nice to have you. TONI TIPTON-MARTIN, AUTHOR, "THE JEMIMA CODE": Nice to be here. Thank you for having me. HARRIS-PERRY: So, talk about the title of this book. What are you signaling with this? MARTIN: Well, you know, what`s really interesting is, the beautiful way that this title dovetails with everything that you`ve been talking about already with your guests, and that is that we`ve had this symbol in the United States that wraps together a bunch of characteristics for African- American women to telegraph that they were intelligent, competent cooks in the kitchen as long as their face was in the cover of a package, right, for pancakes flour. But when it comes time to attribute those same kind of proficiencies at the cookbook level, those voices and images were missing. And so it started for me as a search from my grandmother on the pages of southern cookbook history has evolved into a social justice project, right, to be able to, as you were saying earlier, reclaim that symbol as one of value and a woman and role model from which we can learn. HARRIS-PERRY: You know, it also feels to me like part of "The Jemima Code" is that cooking has to be done for a white family. Right? It`s not about valuing the cooking that so many of our mothers and grandmothers and fathers and grandfathers did for us in our household and then often passed on right through oral tradition as opposed to by writing it down in cookbooks. MARTIN: Yes. So I think one of the really important messages of this cookbook, having these books all aggregated into one collection is that it does show it demonstrates the foods that we were cooking when the resources permit it. HARRIS-PERRY: Uh-hm. MARTIN: And within our community, we understand that there were many, many, many families for whom the resources permitted. Right? So to cook a really elaborate lovely brunch or to serve a banquet does not mean that you`re only cooking for white people. It can be very much so what we`ve cooked in our own homes and our communities and our restaurants and our churches and our hotels. And so what I`d like to challenge people to think about is the fact that we know very little about what today`s modern celebrity chefs cook at home, right? HARRIS-PERRY: Uh-hm. MARTIN: We honor them for the food that they cook at work, on the food network shows. But when it comes to African-Americans, there`s this tendency to segregate our cooking into the food of the cabin or survival cooking. And I always really want to be really clear that we want to retain and acknowledge and honor our ancestors for the ingenuity of cooking with very limited resources. But that, you know, that doesn`t contain the totality of our culinary experience. And so these books help us validate their proficiencies in a ways that mainstream media nor oral history can really justify to the broader community. HARRIS-PERRY: Do cookbooks still matter in a world where people will Google a recipe, you know, five minutes before dinner? Does that still matter to collect recipes together as a whole? MARTIN: I think so because again one of the things that we`re able to see through these cookbooks is that cookbooks contain more than just instructions for recipes and the list of ingredients one would use. Right? This is a space where women, especially women who had fewer opportunities for artistic expression could record the community activities. Many of these books in particular have advertisements contained in them which show us the economic opportunities that were precedent for African-Americans and moving themselves into the middle class. So, the cookbook isn`t a genre that records history and community as well as recipes. HARRIS-PERRY: What was on your Thanksgiving table this week? MARTIN: Oh, all of those traditional things that you described. Macaroni and cheese, the turkey, collard greens. We do make some adjustments but we also realize that that`s the one time of year that we`re going to eat that heavily. HARRIS-PERRY: Right. MARTIN: So we`re largely vegetarian the rest of the time. We really knock it out on Thanksgiving. HARRIS-PERRY: Yes. You know, this year I started gardening for the first time and so I actually went out on Thanksgiving morning, the day before Thanksgiving morning and got my own collards and kale out of the garden. And it was a really satisfying experience to actually do a garden to table in my own yard. So, I want to say thank you to Toni Tipton Martin in Austin, Texas. Don`t forget to check out her book in stores now. "The Jemima Code: Two Centuries of African-American Cookbooks." It`s a lovely, lovey text. And that is our show for today. Thanks to you at home for watching. I`ll see you next Saturday at 10:00 a.m. Eastern. Well, right now it`s time for a preview of "WEEKENDS WITH ALEX WITT." Hi, Alex. ALEX WITT, MSNBC HOST, "WEEKENDS WITH ALEX WITT": Hello, thank you for not busting me that I just sat down -- (CROSSTALK) All of your desk as they`re leaving the studio going, great job. Anyway, now I`m here anyway. We`re going to talk about this. The breaking news. We have climate change protesters meeting with teargas in Paris just as the President heads to that city for a meeting with world leaders. You`re going to hear what it was like to get caught up in all that commotion. Highways and airports getting crowded by the minute, but there`s one big obstacle on the way today for millions of travelers. And new still pictures from the scene of the Tamir Rice shooting in Cleveland. What they reveal and what could be behind the timing of their release. Don`t go anywhere. I`ll be right back. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. END